As hundreds of migrants continue to travel a long distance in this COVID-19 crisis, Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Saturday appealed to state governments to immediately lift food grains and pulses from the godowns and distribute them for free within a fortnight to 8 crore migrants who neither have centre nor state ration card.
According to the Food Ministry, about 142 lakh migrants will benefit in Uttar Pradesh and in Bihar (86.45 lakh), Maharasthra (70 lakh), West Bengal (60.1 lakh), Madhya Pradesh (54.64 lakh), Rajasthan (44.66 lakh), Karnataka (40.19 lakh), Gujarat (38.25 lakh), Tamil Nadu (35.73 lakh), Jharkhand (26.37 lakh), Andhra Pradesh (26.82 lakh) and Assam (25.15 lakh).
In the national capital, about 7.27 lakh migrants will get free 5 kg food grains per person and 1 kg chana per family for May and June.
“If the number of migrants exceeds the current estimation of 8 crore, the Centre is ready to provide additional grains for free supply but the identified person should be genuine which state governments have to validate,” Paswan told the media via video conference here.
The allocation has been made considering 10 per cent of the existing 81 crore beneficiaries under the NFSA ( National Food Security Act).
The free food distribution to 8 crore migrants for two months was announced by the Centre on May 14 as part of an economic package to help those who bore the brunt of the clampdown to fight the COVID-19 crisis. The centre will bear the cost of this intervention, estimated at Rs 3,500 crore.